Cold. Cold. Cold.

So here I go with the 2nd installment from Jonathan’s lightbox.  And folks – it is cold this week. Wind chill temps have been in the single digits all week, and I’m going a bit stir crazy here around the house.  Even worse than being housebound for so long is that I’ve not been able to get out and take pics for a couple weeks now.  The schedule has been a bit crazy lately, and this combined with the weather, has made it difficult to get out and shoot.

So to get my photography fix, one thing I’ve been enjoying recently has been checking out the photo communities in google+.  I’ve not really used google+ since it came online and have stuck with mostly facebook for my social media experience, however I’ve recently discovered new communities that have been sprouting up at google+ devoted to photography.  These groups are awesome for photographers to share and critique work online.  It’s been a great new tool I’ve been using to train my ‘eye’ on what work I like, why I like it, what I don’t like, etc.  All this helps tune the thought process and uncover how and why we choose to take the pics we do.  Since I’ve not been able to be out there, taking my own shots, it’s been great to look through all these different shots from photographers all over the world, and think through what makes the photograph work.  It’s kind of like reverse engineering Ken Rockwell’s F.A.R.T (check it out) technique on someone else’s capture.  This is a pale substitution for taking my own pics, but it works.  Plus being able to do this online is a lot better on my pocketbook than buying a bunch of photo books.  Don’t get me wrong, nothing beats a curling up with a good photo book and having that image in your hand, however being exposed to the sheer volume of submissions in these groups is awesome.

Here’s a listing of some interesting google+ communities that I’ve been combing through the last couple weeks –

Street Photographers – This is a great spot to see postings from street photographers from all over the world.
Black and White Fine Art Photography – Some of the shots people post in here are crazy good.  The photo’s here are geared towards more artistic vision vs photojournalism or raw street photography.
Black and White Photography – Here you get all sorts of B&W photography. The variety really helps to think through the process I was referring to above, where you ask yourself why image A appeals to you over image B, and finding this out helps determine if it’s something I do in my own photography or aspire to do.
Light Box – This is a more recent community I’ve found. The great thing about this community is that it is designed to get a large number of critiques on submitted photo’s vs just a quick google +1. It’s sort of a game that was developed with the community where a member has to 1st critique a 15 photos in the group before being able to post work.  When the photo is posted, you can get your picture in the ‘lightbox’ for the day if other members of the group critique 10 ‘saves’ or your shot does not make it if instead you get 10 ‘delete’s 1st.  This is a bit intimidating, as the photographers that take part in this are VERY good.

The Lightbox Share for this post is one of my own. A little bit of self promotion. One of the projects I put on the site is called ‘Doors of Higher Learning’.  It currently contains images of doors from Lehigh University.  Now I did not set out to take pics of these doors, however, at the time I was on campus to take some architecture shots, it was such an overcast, grey day outside that the contrast between the door and wall was interesting to me. I don’t think the shots are that interesting on their own, however taken as a series, could be more unique.  It’s not like I have a huge affinity for fancy doors, however I do think it tells a story to see these in a series.  I like the idea of doing a series, and had planned to do a series of shots at christmas on these christmas city arts and crafts booths downtown, however I did not have time to get enough of them.  You can see one shot like this under the ‘Christmas City’ project. I plan to take more shots like these at some local colleges – Moravian, Muhlenberg, Lafayette, Cedar Crest.  Any suggestions on some unique buildings on these campuses would be  appreciated.  Here’s a shot of the entry to the Packard Laboratory, part of the Computer Science and Engineering department at Lehigh.  I tried checking out if the statues were of any specific historical figures, but did not see any info on it.  If anyone knows would appreciate knowing the story behind them.

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